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Alex's Fishing Column 27th Oct 2021

The long overdue reconstruction of the Corroboree Billabong boat ramp meant competitors in the fifth round of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) had to launch Rock Hole.

The fishing area for this event were the Mary River Billabongs, including Corrobboree, Hardies, Mary River Bridge Lagoon and Shady Fresh.

TEBS co-ordinator, Regis Martin, said: “Competitors were thrown a curved ball last week with the announcement that repairs to Corroboree Boat Ramp would be taking place.

“Luckily, the cutting between Rock Hole and the main billabong was accessible, albeit very shallow and narrow, which allowed Corroboree to still be the billabong of choice for many.

“Even with the extended drive to launch at Rock Hole, Corroboree is a picture-perfect location, which is worth the trip just for the scenery, with fishing a bonus,” Regis said.

Apparently, it was scorching hot on the billabongs last weekend, which was not surprising with an ongoing heatwave forecast.

However, it was not just the heat that competitors had to bear; a raging build-up storm had many competitors wishing they had booked a houseboat.

“With the best fishing often at night on the billabongs, this year the fishing hours were extended to commence on the Friday at 6:00pm through to Sunday 6:00pm,” Regis explained.

“This year also saw for the first time a BBQ boat being used for the TEBS competitors to drop in for a sausage and a bit of a chin wag… it was a great success.

“One of the best stories involved Mark Grosser who hooked some tangled fishing line and pulled in a rod and reel.

“Sadly, however, the fishing was pretty tough; those who caught fish really had to work hard for it or, as in my case, be just plain lucky.

“To give you an idea, 15 anglers registered 30 fish this year, compared with 21 anglers registering 52 fish last year.

“Last year, three barra over the metre were caught; this year the biggest fish was 85cm which I managed to catch on the troll at night,” Regis said.

The winner of TEBS round five was Ben Judd who was the only person to bag out, catching barra measuring 58, 60, 62, 73 and 75cm.

James Park came second and Jeff Dawson was third.

The final TEBS round will be in Darwin Harbour.

If you’re thinking of hitting the briny this weekend, don’t expect too much current.

The tides are dead neaps, with less than 20cm difference between high and low on Saturday.

That should lead to phenomenal water clarity offshore and in the estuaries.

However, the fishing might be a bit slow – what’s that old saying: “No Run No Fun”?

Possibly, the mouths of the big tidal rivers will be the go this weekend.

That’s where water clarity really comes into its own for good barra fishing.

Try the mouth of either the South Alligator River, the Mary River or the Daly River.

At 85cm, Regis Martin’s Corroboree barra was the biggest caught in round 5 of the Top End Barra Series.

Ben Judd with one of the barra which helped him win last weekend’s TEBS event.

Ever-consistent James Park came second in the TEBS competition.


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